Story time! It has been a wild few months. Honestly, a wild year I should say. I have received so many questions in regards to why I took a break from shooting, but more importantly, I wholeheartedly believe that sharing personal trials can help others dealing with similar problems. The Lord has been so faithful, and I'm feeling led to share that encouragement with everyone who reads this.
Back in January 2020, I began experiencing hip pain. This pain wasn't anything major, so basically, I moved on with life and disregarded it. Fast forward to August 2020, I was out surfing with a few friends. I popped up on the board, then experienced a strong pinch in my hip. That ended in a wipeout, obviously. While this was the same type of pain I had been experiencing, just simply intensified, I began thinking. Was this a surf injury? Is this related to scoliosis? Is this hip dysplasia? That was a rough week, and it seemed like I could barely move. After 5 days, the pain started to diminish. I moved on with normal life, yet incredibly uncomfortable, and with a nasty limp at times. After a few months and zero improvement, enough was enough. I traveled to Orlando to see an orthopedic surgeon in hopes of getting an answer. They took hip x-rays, and found nothing, including no dysplasia. (Praise God) So they took leg x-rays, after determining there was no possible way this was related to scoliosis. They found the issue was primarily in the legs. My femur was rotated inwards, pulling on the hip, which explains the hip pain and dysplasia symptoms. This also caused pushing the knees in, and pulling the lower legs outward.
This was bilateral. So basically, both my legs were twisted.
The only option was a surgical fix. It would require going under general anesthesia three times. First, to correct the left leg. Second, to correct the right leg. Third, hardware removal.
The doc shared with us that these were long, extensive procedures. They would be cutting my femur (biggest bone in the body) in half, and rotating the knee in line with the hip. Then, they would cut the tibia and fibula in half to rotate the ankle in line with the knee. Rods were going to be placed from hip down throughout my entire leg, and screws in my hip, knee, and ankle. Even after hearing that, my perspective barely changed and I still desired that surgery. Honestly, I didn't care what it took. I just wanted to feel normal.
Duh, I'm getting this surgery. I don't care if it will take 6 hours, and that it is a massive deal. We got it scheduled for March 1st, 2021, at 7:30 in the morning. I wasn't scared one bit. I was the epitome of STOKED. Feeling better was priority and seemed like the magic of Christmas morning.
SURGERY AND RECOVERY
March 1st came around, and we walked through those hospital doors at the crack of dawn. At this point, the nerves set in, but I felt confident. We were admitted and in pre-op by 5:30, for a procedure beginning at 7:30. Pre-op was probably the worst part, knowing what awaits you in a matter of minutes. As they started the IV drip, my memory begins to be foggy. I was wheeled to the OR at this point, with the craziest rush of emotions. Happy, terrified, sad, angry, but we can blame that on the meds. Next thing I knew, I was in recovery with the best popsicle on the planet. It was around 1:00. I felt great, with the exception of yelling at the x-ray technician for touching my leg. Everything was right in the world, until I was wheeled into my room where we stayed for a few days. The anesthesia completely wore off and there was no medicine that worked enough to control the pain of my broken-in-half leg. They began putting meds in the IV, but nothing worked. They kept trying different "cocktails" and each would do nothing. The pain was a 10 on the scale and was absolutely awful. We opted against a nerve block, and the nurses were trying to avoid using the heaviest of the heavy drugs. Worse came to worse and morphine was the only option. That went into the IV and lasted a solid 30 minutes. After all the attempted pain meds, being under for 5+ hours, and doses of morphine, I was so high and felt insane. But praise God pain was under control, eight hours later. Day two was worlds better. I got out of bed, walked a few steps with crutches, then passed out. But, we were making money moves. I regained an appetite, ordered sushi, and that is basically all I remember. The Hospital staff was absolutely incredible from the surgeon, to the nurses, etc. They made the experience (while it was awful physically) so positive. Day three, we were discharged. From there, despite the pain, life was pretty good. So many visitors, so many flowers, and so much love.
Now, we are a little over a month post op. PT twice a week, walking comfortably with crutches, and finding ways to shoot even considering my recovery. While the experience sucked, I wouldn't change it for the world. My relationship with the Lord has grown exponentially. He has been able to work in such unique ways. This pain is temporary, but what the Lord has done lasts through eternity. Our loved ones were absolutely incredible. I had an average of four visitors a day during that first week post surgery. It was the biggest blessing I could ask for. Not only were relationships strengthened with the Lord, but they were strengthened in these precious earthly relationships as well. God is so good, and this entire collective experience proved that to me even more. He provided a cure. He worked extravagantly. He has held my hand this entire time.
Long story short, that's what happened. It was the first corrective surgery. If my right leg miraculously stops causing issues, I will not undergo that surgery again. And the hardware removal, is yet to be determined. For now, we are back to reality and back creating! So beyond stoked to be able to shoot with all you beautiful people, metal legs and all!